Columbia students study data after launching balloon

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COLUMBIA - Eighth graders at the Columbia Independent School (CIS) on North Stadium Boulevard have been studying weather related data since they launched a large, white weather balloon in late January.

Science teacher Wally Luther has facilitated scientific learning for students involved with the Center for Inspiration, Innovation and Investigation, also known as "The Cube."

"When [the students] saw it happening, it was very exciting," Luther said. "Afterwards, it was kind of like, when you do something neat, and it was like, 'Wow, that was really cool.'"

Luther said the students built the balloon with additional help from companies who build weather balloons.

"It's something I never would've done if I hadn't had the opportunity to go to The Cube," CIS eighth grader Ansley Barnes said. "It has been really interesting to experience something new and learn about something hands-on, which we might not have been able to do any other way."

The balloon went up as high as 98,000 feet in the stratosphere before landing in the St. Louis area. Students tested to see how items such as potato chips and marshmallows would be affected in space.

"We can talk about now how we collect weather for the forecast that happens for the 10:00 news," Luther said. "Part of that is through a weather balloon."

Luther also said a seventh-grade class is expected to launch another weather balloon sometime between the middle of March and early April.

The full video CIS released of the weather balloon in space can be found here.